ELECTRICITY (a parable for Pentecost) Acts 2:2

A sermon with the congregation of the Good Shepherd in the Anglican Parish of Kingston North, Ontario on the Day of Pentecost, June 8, 2003
by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca)

"Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a mighty wind and it filled the entire house" (Acts 2:2).

A couple from a jungle in Africa arrived in Kingston, Ontario, and were given a fully equipped home to live in. They were handed the keys, but no one thought of explaining about the electrical appliances. During the month of July they went to bed when it got dark and rose with the sun. They collected wood and were able to cook in the fireplace. They found water came from the taps, and they did their washing in the kitchen, and dried their clothes on the line. But by November they were cold, miserable, and very frightened. Happily some friends came to visit, found the house in darkness and they flicked on the lights. They showed the couple how they could set the thermostat to heat the house, and use the electric stove for cooking. Next week they learned about the washer and drier, the vacuum cleaner, how to answer the telephone, and dial their friends. The television helped them find out about Canada, and how people survived the Canadian winter.

That story illustrates the huge change that took place on the Day of Pentecost. "Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a mighty wind and it filled the entire house" (Acts 2:2). The couple from Africa discovered that they were living in a house in which they were free to enjoy light, and heat, and the many appliances needed for the Canadian winter. But the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day had never told people all that God had for them. On the Day of Pentecost the early Christians began to experience the light and power available to them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let me remind you of some of the resources that are available to you for the asking. There is no need to be cold, powerless, and miserable. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

LIGHT Before we are enlightened the world seems to be a dark meaningless place. By the Holy Spirit we can see the incredible beauty of the world God has made for us to enjoy.

WARMTH Apart from the Holy Spirit we feel cold and unloving. Love and Joy and Peace are fruits of the Spirit. That means we cannot work them up by our own efforts. They bubble up from our heart like water from a spring or sap in a tree. Soon we can warm to people we might not like, and even learn to love enemies.

WASHING We can spend our life trying to wash away the sin, and guilt, and failures of our life. But the Spirit tells us to leave that to me, and I will assure you, as Jesus said, that you are forgiven.

TELEPHONE When we came to Canada forty years ago my wife, Mollie, found it very hard to telephone people. And many people find it hard to pray. What shall I say to God? But, as Paul said, "the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words" (Romans 8:26). There is no point in discussing how we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Just ask him to pray within you, and give you the prayers that God has in mind, and you will know the Spirit has filled you.

TELEVISION We use television to see the world as humans see it. But the Holy Spirit can give us inspiration from the Bible to see the world as God sees it. You don't have to read the Bible from cover to cover, and understand all that scholars say about theology. Begin in the Gospels, find some part that grabs you, and ask the Spirit to give you its meaning. Soon you will discover much more that gives you a completely new perspective on life.

To enjoy all that electricity can do for us, we don't need to be electrical engineers and know how it works. Even a little child can turn on the light and pick up the phone. And with the Holy Spirit it is foolish to say I won't pray till I understand how prayer works.

We should add that in the case of electricity we have to pay our hydro bills. But with the Holy Spirit there is nothing to pay. He is free for us any time of the day or night.

Just one more point. Once you have discovered the power of the Holy Spirit in your own life, you will see people in your family and among your friends who, like that couple from Africa, are cold, miserable, and very frightened. You won't be able to say, "Let them fend for themselves, and freeze in the dark." That it is why it is people who are filled with the Holy Spirit who bring love, and joy, and peace, and all the other fruit and gifts of the Spirit into the lives of people all over the world.

Prayer In a moment of silent prayer I want you to tell the Holy Spirit what is the most frustrating, worrying, frightening thing in your life. Then ask him to come into your house and give you the light and power that you need.

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